‘We need to make a difference’: Myrtle Beach police chief pushes for harsher fentanyl laws in S.C.

Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Procks speaks during House subcommittee hearing about the need for stricter laws for fentanyl trafficking
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 3:18 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach police chief made a trip to Columbia on Thursday where she pleaded with lawmakers to pass stricter laws for those who bring fentanyl into communities throughout South Carolina.

Chief Amy Prock, along with several other people from across the state, spoke during the Criminal Laws Subcommittee meeting where they discussed House Bill 3503 which would create the charge of trafficking fentanyl for local law enforcement agencies.

“We need to make a difference,” said Prock. “This legislation is what we need to continue to make a difference in this attack.”

The police chief noted that there have been recent trends in Myrtle Beach where police are seizing straight fentanyl. She said there have also been dramatic increases where drugs like cocaine and meth are being laced with fentanyl.

She added that her officers have seized large amounts of pressed pills, which are pills meant to mirror prescribed pills but contain fentanyl and are leading to more deadly overdoses.

“Often times victims believe they are using pharmaceutical pills unaware that they are pressed with fentanyl and other poisons,” Prock said.

Prock provided examples of two cases where her officers seized several pounds of pressed fentanyl pills were seized, but due to the lack of state level prosecution for trafficking, the cases were handed over to federal agents. At this point, the harshest charge a person caught with large amounts of fentanyl can face is a possession with intent to distribute charge.

She added that in 2022 there were a reported 360 overdoses in Myrtle Beach and 32 of those were deadly.

“I know about them because I think about them every day,” Prock said passionately.

She said that stricter laws could have helped prevent some of those overdoses and deaths.

“How could we have changed those numbers? Tighter laws? More team members? How many lives could we have saved when the dealers know the laws are not strict enough. Four grams are all that’s needed for trafficking heroin but hundreds if not thousands of grams of fentanyl are being seized each week throughout South Carolina with no applicable state charges,” Prock said.

The bill must go through the House Judiciary Committee before it reaches the full House. Similar bills have also been filed in the Senate and are making their way through Senate subcommittees.